On the one hand people were disregarding the antiquity of Tamil language and on the other hand ancient sites in Madurai were facing the threat of destruction owing to public apathy. It is important to protect the heritage spots and restore them to their original state, said Madras High Court judge N. Kirubakaran here on Sunday.
He was speaking at World Tamil Sangam after inaugurating a photo exhibition along with Madras High Court judge B. Pugalendhi. The event was organised by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as part of World Heritage Week celebrations. Justice Kirubakaran said that while it was essential to learn English language, it was more important to learn ones mother tongue.
Tamil-Brahmi script found on potsherds, which were around 2,500 years old, showed that the ancient Tamil society was literate. Carbon dating indicates that Tamil is among the most ancient languages. But we must also recognise and accept if some other language is found to be older than Tamil, he said.
Justice Kirubakaran urged the ASI officials to erect boards at convergence spots such as railway stations and bus stops to indicate the location of heritage spots. This will help in raising the tourist footfall even while increasing revenue generated through tourism, he said.
Justice Pugalendhi asked the ASI officials to employ technology at major archaeological sites to explain the importance of those sites to the visitors.
Earlier, the judges inaugurated a photo exhibition of important archaeological excavation sites across the country. V. Vedachalam, former senior epigraphist of Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, said Madurai was an ancient city with several hills having Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. Those sites must be declared as World Heritage Sites so that quarrying could be prevented at these hills. Several ancient heritage spots were facing the onslaught of urbanisation and hence it was all the more important to declare them as heritage villages or towns or cities, Mr. Vedachalam said.
S. Rajavelu, adjunct professor at Alagappa University, urged the ASI to take steps to protect ancient temples and heritage spots across the State.
There were several evidences that indicate that Madurai had been continuously inhabited for the past 2,500 years, said K.T. Gandhirajan, a resource person at Tamil Virtual Academy.
K.P. Bharathi, an advisor at DHAN Foundation, said it was also the responsibility of the public to protect ancient heritage spots.
G. Maheshwari, Regional Director (Southern Region), ASI, and T. Arun Raj, Superintending Archaeologist, Tiruchi circle, were present.